Friday, October 21, 2011

Over 40 People Attend GEM ATR Meeting

NOTE: I started working on my report of the UFT Delegate Assembly which I believe voted to end tenure and LIFO and I will explain why when I get to it but probably not 'till Sunday. Meanwhile read James Eterno's Delegate Assembly Report at the ICE blog. Here is what he wrote about the ATR:
David [Ed Note: Pecoraro -a Unity guy - good for him] from Beach Channel resolved that atrs have a chapter for as long as atrs exist. He explained that atrs have a right to vote. Leroy Barr spoke against it saying said that we do not want to create a permanent chapter for a temporary position. The motion failed but got a great deal of support. Mulgrew acknowledged that voting would be a problem and they would work on it. (I voted for it.)
Reports on the GEM ATR Meeting
While the GEMATR committee had received a bunch of positive RSVPs we also received a batch of regrets due to other commitments. So we set up a table for 10 or so at the Skylight Diner yesterday.
But they just kept coming until we filled half the back of the diner and grew to over 40 people. We actually held a meeting for about an hour in the midst of people still pouring in when I figured we had to order some food. That pretty much turned into each table holding mini-meetings, which worked out so much better than a formal meeting. People were so happy to be able to talk to other people, a sign of the isolation they are facing and also a sign of the failure of the UFT Administration to provide such a forum for them. Or be so adamantly opposed to them having a chapter with elective representatives to deal with the UFT Administration. They claim it codifies ATRs (DUH! Closing schools codifies ATRs) but I feel the real reason is they (and the DOE) want to keep them isolated.

It is clear there is the need for ATRs to get together and we in GEM are happy to provide the mechanism for them to do this. Rough committees were laid out and people were very anxious to meet again. While the travel issue was on the table we still feel the 34th St area is a central location. I stressed that even though we have 80 people on the listserve, that is not enough to make a difference and we must organize a couple of hundred before we can take action. There will be another meeting in November. Meanwhile we will try to get the committees to meet on their own.

Here is a report from ATR - Absolutely Teaching Ready
Last night over 40 ATRs and friends met at the Skyline Diner in Manhattan. Enthusiasm ran high, sometimes too high, as the Diner Management requested us to try to keep our voices down.

We agreed to give life to the ATR committee of GEM, created several committees to publicize our plight, discuss future actions at th e UFT and possible legal recourse for the discrimatory practices against veteran teachers.

Support for a UFT ATR Chapter or Chapters for each borough ran high. Truth is, if Michael Mulgrews figure of 1000 ATRs is correct, 5% of us were there last night! This is an auspicious beginning. One weakness, we need to reach out to get more ATRs to participate, especially Black and Hispanic UFT members who are ATRs. Given the preponderance of people's of color at the borough meetings, this will be critical for our groups success.

There was general agreement with the thrust of ATR GEM literature and the demands in the petition. On this basis, we should move forward to request meetings with UFT leaders on the statistics the Union has collected concerning the age, race demographics of ATRs, numbers hired since June, average length of time in the ATR pool and salaries.

The restraint of last night attendees was indicative of their seriousness. People refrained from talking about their own difficult situations to insure the discussion was more general, enabling us to come to broad areas of agreement.

Several people tied our issue into the broader crises facing the education system like privatization through Charters, school closures and budget cuts. Also singled out was the DOE's overall effort to cheapen and dumb down education for working class children. Others discussed increasing unemployment, budget cuts, the issues raised by the Occupy Wall Street movement and our need to defend teaching.

Absolutely Teaching Ready
Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on the right for important bits.


  1. Please commit yourself to tell to as many educators as possible about "Education notes on line".Imagine our potential to change things if 10.000 uft members would be more informed...

  2. I think I know what you mean. ATR's are "temporary" because Unity knows they are going to sell us out in the end.

  3. I also, for I do not know how many times, explained to a veteran teacher about what is Unity, was New Action, is ICE, TJC and GEM. It really is amazing how few members know of this history. What can be done to correct this

  4. Chapter leader remain ineffective due to lack of support from DR's. Word on the street has it Queens and Brooklyn chapter leader fed up with DR bullsh_t.

  5. I saw a memo that on Oct.7th all ATRS were being switched. Like musical chairs! Once they understand the assignment they are switched to a new spot!


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